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Tuesday, 29 September 1942

Mr PROWSE (Forrest) .- These disabilities grants, as the payments are properly called, though they are improperly applied, are not on a fair basis. In fact, the distribution ofthe money never has been on a fair basis. Western Australia suffers from great disabilities, partly because it is so far removed from the centre of government and industrial activity. This disadvantage is accentuated in war- time, when the bulk of war expenditure occurs in the great centralized portions of the Commonwealth. Western Australia has to pay its full share of taxation to meet war expenditure, but the return to the State is so small comparatively that its citizens suffer greater disabilities than do citizens of the larger States in which the money is expended. Western Australia is more affected by lack of transport than any other State,, because its distances are so great and shipping and railway transport have been tremendously curtailed. Moreover, whilst the fiscal policy of the Commonwealth Government has been for the benefit of the eastern States, it has been a continuous disadvantage to Western Australia. The people of Western Australia sell in the open markets of the world and buy, virtually, in the dearest. The disadvantages and disabilities that the State suffers because it is a unit of the federation are not fully compensated for by the annual grants made to it by the Commonwealth Parliament.

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